Empower Wisconsin | April 20, 2020
Our Tool of the Week is a real abuse-of-power tool.
Meet the Klump.
Sergeant Cameron Klump, that is. He’s the law enforcement officer allegedly ordered by his sheriff to arrest a 16-year-old girl if she didn’t remove her Instagram post. Klump and his boss, Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath, a Republican, are now defendants in a First Amendment lawsuit filed on behalf of Amyiah Cohoon and her parents.
As Empower Wisconsin reported, the Oxford, Wis., sophomore merely committed the “crime” of posting online that she had COVID-19, court documents state. Her doctors, according to the lawsuit, confirmed as much — even though tests came back negative.
Westfield School District Administrator Robert Meicher didn’t like Amyiah’s Instagram messages, which advised that she may have contracted her severe respiratory infection on a school band trip to Walt Disney World. The administrator described it on the district’s webpage as a “foolish means to get attention.”
But local officials did more than criticize Amyiah’s public comments.
On March 27, Klump was dispatched to the Cohoons’ home to demand the Instagram post be removed or she would face arrest for disorderly conduct.
“Sergeant Klump stated that he had direct orders from Sheriff Konrath to demand that Amyiah delete this post, and, if she did not, to cite Amyiah and/or her parents for disorderly conduct and to ‘start taking people to jail,’” the lawsuit alleges.
The police report also states that Klump ‘advise[d] Richard [Cohoon] that if they were not willing to take the post down, that there would be the possibility of a County Ordinance Disorderly Conduct or being arrested for Disorderly Conduct,’” court documents claim.
Amyiah’s father offered to show Klump the medical documents they had received on their daughter’s condition, but the deputy said “he was not there to gather information but to complete Sheriff Konrath’s order,” according to the filing.
The family argued for their constitutional rights, but eventually took down the posts after the threat from law enforcement.
Klump, according to the lawsuit, was following orders in “upholding the law.” In doing so, it appears he and his boss broke the constitution.
For that, this Barney Fife is Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.